Take a Hike With One Book/One College

CSN’s One Book/One College (OBOC) program fosters a sense of community, creativity, and conversation through the mutual study of a common reading. This year’s chosen book, Dreamland:The True Tale of America’s Opiate Epidemic by Sam Quinones, inspires communication and connection at many events including film screenings, discussions and HIKES!

Librarian Jack Sawyer has been leading OBOC hikes since the common reading program was first initiated at CSN in 2016 by English professor Kody Lightfoot. Sawyer said, “Kody’s previous involvement in a similar program at Chaffey College was an inspiration. Common reading programs give students something to identify with– shared knowledge– which is one of the Library’s goals.”

Lightfoot believes that student engagement outside of the classroom is one of the factors that contributes to goal completion. “Activities like these hikes show students that they are part of a community, that they are connected, and that people care,” said Lightfoot.

Jack Sawyer (librarian),Amy Palmer (academic counselor), and Kam Hanna (student) brave the flooded arroyo at First Creek trailhead in Red Rock on the most recent One Book/One College hike. Photo by CSN Botanist and OBOC hike leader, Carrie Preite.

On a recent OBOC hike at Red Rock Canyon, hikers discussed a citation chart that illustrates how a five-sentence letter to the editor published in the New England Journal of Medicine in 1980 was still being falsely cited as evidence that prescription opioids are not addictive. For an upcoming hike on April 6th, Sawyer plans to lead a discussion about an article that reports on an Outward Bound program that takes drug addicts outdoors to an open environment away from their addiction triggers.

OBOC hikes aren’t just about the thought-provoking discussions. Hikers delight in hearing secrets about the trailside flora shared by hike leader Carrie Preite, whose Ph.D. is in botany and who teaches CSN’s spring semester Biology 122 class on desert plants. There’s also plenty of camaraderie. Just ask academic counselor Amy Palmer, whose first OBOC hike was on a rainy day. “As we neared the cars, we saw that the ‘dry creek’ was now a raging river and we had to cross it twice! The current was very strong and it was knee deep. I was thankful I wasn’t alone and that I was with a caring group of people who helped each other. It was exhilarating to cross that ‘river’ and I will never forget it!” said Palmer.

No need to worry if you are not an experienced hiker. Sawyer was the outings chairperson for the local group of the Sierra Club for 11 years and has lead over 100 hikes. His experience includes a 31-mile backpack hike in Yosemite National Park and he looks forward to an REI trek through Europe this summer.

Don’t miss out on the last two hikes of the semester! For more information on the upcoming hikes below, contact Jack Sawyer at jack.sawyer@csn.edu.


General: Hikers will meet at 8:00 AM at the West Charleston Campus parking lot east of the “B” Building; we’ll be departing at 8:10. Bring a hat, sunscreen, sunglasses, sturdy shoes, layered clothing, 1.5 liters of water, a snack or sandwich, your day pack. If you have one, bring your copy of Dreamland: The True Tale of America’s Opiate Epidemic. We’ll do a shared reading of one or two compelling passages. To join the hike, please email Jack Sawyer with a subject line “Dreamland Hike,” so you can be added to the list: limited to the first 15 people responding.

  • Saturday, April 6 @ 8AM:  Mouse’s Tank and White Dome Loop Trail,  Valley of Fire State Park.
    Hike leader: Jack Sawyer

    Distance: Each trail is one mile. Average time: 2 hours.  Difficulty: EASY. We will see petroglyphs and perhaps even some water in the natural water tanks. Read more about this hike.
  • Saturday, May 4 @ 8AM:  Stanley B. Springs, Kyle Canyon, Spring Mountains National Recreation Area. Hike leader: Jack Sawyer 
    Distance: 3 miles round trip. Average time: 2-3 hours. Difficulty: EASY-MODERATE. Elevation gain: from 7000′ to 7800′. Enjoy the clean mountain air, fabulous pines and firs, and a beautiful stream. Read more about this hike.